Monday, 8 December 2014

How to do work good (and pretty pics)

So I'm back home now, after a whole week away in a couple of different places for work. It's been a huge week, but a helpful one. I thought I'd mull over what I've learned in case it's helpful for you in your work or personal life.

(Also, I'm popping in pics of Alex Skarsgard 'cos he's lush. Far more interesting than stock photos of people in suits shaking hands.)

1. There really isn't anything to beat face to face meetings. 

Alex agrees with me on this point.
We did a big conference for one part of our organisation. Again and again people were saying how great it was to 'put a face to a name' and how they felt comfortable referring clients to each now that they had met the person they would be referring to.

We try very hard to be connected using things like email, online messaging, teleconferencing or video conferencing, but this week reaffirmed the vital importance of meeting in person.

An even more important aspect is time to have a coffee, chat over a drink, have a meal together. The best ideas and conversations happen when something is going into our mouths!









2. There's a lot of value in personality tests - but not what you'd think.


Alex is more a do-er than a thinker
Another part of my week was a big team meeting which involved some input from a personality test company. Now, you may know that the concept of personality 'types' has been largely dismissed by psychology as it is not supported by research. Putting people into one of a few personality 'types' isn't much more valid than describing people using their star sign. Many psychologists even take issue with the idea of personality traits (though the majority agree on the 'Big Five' model).

This hasn't stopped enterprising people setting up businesses selling bespoke personality tests to businesses. The output of these tests can easily be harmful if used incorrectly, for example as the main factor in recruiting staff.

HOWEVER given all those disclaimers, I think it is really useful to put aside time to have open discussions about what we're really like as people and how we like to be treated.

We are a very new team so it was helpful to have time together to start to get to know each other and to reflect on ourselves. I have already spent a considerable amount of time working on my self-awareness but I did actually gain some more insights through this experience. 



3. Being powerful isn't bad.

Eric Northman and I are both strong characters
I've known since my teens that I'm naturally a very full-on, direct person. And that almost everyone else finds that overpowering and unpleasant, especially in a woman. I've been working all the time to soften myself down, to be more gentle, slower, more collaborative, give others time to speak etc. The message from a lot of quarters has been 'Who you are is wrong'. 

Still, we did a series of challenges as part of a team building exercise. Our team won. A biggish part of that was me quickly coming up with ideas, nudging others into action and keeping on task. I think I managed to do this while giving others a chance to contribute and without being domineering. So, maybe being a strong natural leader has its uses.

So, did you enjoy the Alex pics? Any other thoughts?

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I get really excited when I shout into the void and the void says "hello" back at me. Thanks for your comments!